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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

VISUAL AND AUDITORY DISTINCTIONS         181

pieces, trying for example, to fit a triangle into a trapezium, into
a rectangle, etc. Or, when they take up a rectangle and recognize
the place where it ought to be put, they arrange it with the long
side across the short side of the place, and only after many trials
do they succeed in putting it into its right place. After three or
four successive attempts, the child recognizes the geometrical figures
with extreme facility and replaces the insets with a confidence
which carries with it an expression of indifference, of disparage-
ment for it as being an easy bit of work.

This is the moment at which the child may advance to a
methodical examination of the shapes, changing the insets on the
desk at his convenience and passing from contrasts to similarities.
Then the exercise becomes easy for the child, who gets accustomed
to recognizing the figures, and to putting them back in their
respective places without effort or mistake,

At the first stage of attempts when to the child figures
of contrasted form are presented recognition is helped a
great deal when tactile-muscular sensations are associated with
visual sensations. I make the child trace with the forefinger of
the right hand the outlines of the pieces as well as the inner edge
of the socket which reproduces the shape of the piece itself. I get
this to become a habit with the child. It is an easy habit to acquire
in practice, because little children love above everything to touch
things. Some children who do not yet recognize a shape when
they see it, do so when they touch it, when they execute
the movements needed to trace the outlines of it. Turning round
and round in all directions a piece which they vainly try to fit into
its place, they get worried; but directly they trace the outlines
of the piece and of the socket, they succeed in the attempt. Un-
doubtedly the association of the tactile-muscular sense with the
visual, helps in a marked degree in the perception of shapes and
fixes the memory of them.

In such exercises the control is absolute as with the solid
insets; the figure can be put in nowhere except into its own socket;
the child therefore must exercise itself done and carry out real